Seeking a Higher Education After You Divorce

In Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

Attaining a college degree, a professional license, a masters degree, or other certification is part of the American Dream for a lot of people. Not only is there a sense of pride and accomplishment in this achievement, but it can also be an essential step toward career advancement and higher salary.

For some, dreams of a higher education were put on hold, or did not even start, due to marriage and family. In fact, staying home with children or supporting another spouse’s career advancement is a decision that many people face. Therefore, the spouse that puts aside their educational goals for the sake of family or marriage may find themselves at a disadvantage should their marriages end. Fortunately, there may be relief for spouses in this position.

Alimony Supports Further Education and Training

Alimony provides support from a supporting spouse to a dependent spouse upon the dissolution of a marriage. In determining whether alimony should be awarded, the amount that should be awarded, and the duration of alimony payments, the North Carolina General Statutes contains numerous factors for the court to consider. In particular, these factors include:

  • “The relative education of the spouses and the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the spouse seeking alimony to find employment to meet his or her reasonable economic needs”;
  • “The contribution by one spouse to the education, training, or increased earning power of the other spouse”;
  • “The contribution of a spouse as homemaker”.

The court has discretion in determining the duration of alimony payments, but a general rough estimate is about half the length of the marriage. This can vary based on the alimony factors a court must consider. For example, a court may order alimony for a longer duration if it hears evidence demonstrating: (1) the nature of the higher education the dependent spouse plans to attend; (2) that this education will enable the spouse to find employment to meet his or her reasonable economic needs; and (3) the estimated time it will take to complete the program. A good lawyer can articulate your desire to seek this higher education, and can demonstrate that you deserve a fair alimony award based on your contributions to your spouse’s career and to your household.

Contact New Direction Family Law

If you are seeking to end your marriage in North Carolina, contact New Direction Family Law. If you need help resolving property division, spousal support, child custody, or child support issues, we can help. Our attorneys are smart, caring, and effective. Further, we pride ourselves in our ability to communicate with our clients so that they can make confident, well-informed decisions about their futures. We serve clients throughout Wake, Johnston, Durham and surrounding counties. Contact our office at (919) 719-3470 to schedule a consultation or visit us online through our website.

Sarah J. Hink
New Direction Family Law

New Direction Family Law
(919) 719-3470